Posted on June 29, 2015 · Posted in News

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease in which the blood glucose levels are too high. There are 3.2 million persons diagnosed in the UK and further 630,000 persons are unaware they have it. 80% of persons with type 2 diabetes are overweight. An excess of fat makes it harder for the body’s insulin to do its job and take the glucose to the cells to give them energy. Symptoms include an excessive thirst, going to the toilet a lot and tiredness. Consistently running high blood sugars damages the smallest capillaries which are found in tips of fingers, toes, eyes and kidneys.  Hence many complications of diabetes affect these areas.

The management of Type 2 diabetes includes a healthy balanced diet, exercise and weight loss if necessary.  For persons who have pre-diabetes or Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT) losing 7% weight reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 57%.  For many this is about 1 stone. Once diagnosed, persons with Type 2 diabetes who are overweight would need to lose approx. 20kg (3 stone) to start to put their diabetes into remission and reverse some of the damage initiated by the diabetes.  Prevention is much easier than cure.

Diet

Carbs: Choose slow release carbs known as low glycaemic index (low G.I).  Examples include; wholegrain breads and cereals, wholewheat pasta, basmati and wild rice, sweet potatoes, baked potato, cous-cous, quinoa, buckwheat, oatcakes, rice cakes, rye breads, oats, corn or rice based cereals

Fruit and Veg: Low in calories so great fillers.  Ensure a rainbow of colours to optimise antioxidant vitamins and minerals to protect the heart.  Make half your plate veg and snack on fruit if hungry.  Bananas and grapes also great!

Meat, Fish and Alternatives: Involved in growth and repair.  Many sources great for iron which is needed for our red blood cells.  Oil rich fish excellent to maintain healthy hearts.  Beans and pulses excellent and low GI.

Milk and Dairy Foods: Source of milk sugar lactose.  Rich source of calcium which is essential for healthy strong bones and teeth.  Choose lower fat options.  However be wary of low fat yogurts and milk based deserts.  Many are high in sugar.  Check the label.

Fatty and sugary foods: Cut right back on sugar, sweets, biscuits, cakes, and puddings.  High in sugar and fat but little else.

Exercise

An essential component of diabetes management. Being physically active helps our cells to respond better to insulin.  It also helps us to lose weight.  Even in the absence of weight loss persons who are more active control blood glucose levels better.

A healthy, varied, balanced diet while enjoying a more active lifestyle is key for both diabetes prevention and also its management.

About the Author